350 slices per second!

The Dish: Pizza and Salad
The Place: Fired Pie
The Location: Tanger Outlets-Westgate 6800 n 95th Ave, #870 Glendale, AZ 85305

By: Colleen A Johnson

I ask myself, “Who am I and what happened to Colleen?” Did aliens abduct me? Did body snatchers invade me? Pod people? I have no clue, but a pizza-loving-pod-body-snatching type person replaced the old Colleen, the one who does not want to acknowledge in public that she is not a fan of eating pizza! I know! I know! It is sacrilegious or even un-American to admit having an aversion to America’s 4th most popular food. Over 94% of Americans eat pizza regularly; meaning over 3 billion pizzas are sold annually. Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza per day or 350 slices per second. (It is amazing what you can learn when you Google … ) To think I was in the 6% minority. Oh my!

I didn’t always dislike pizza, but the older I have become the thick crusts and heavy red sauces have made eating pizza gastronomically challenging. I want a pizza with a super thin crust, naked — no red sauce, topped with simple delicious vegetables and/or meats. To find a white pizza drenched in olive oil and garlic without all the fanfare is not easy, even in a world dominated by so many pizza choices. Does this mean this kind of pizza does not exist? Of course not, but I am always reticent to eat restaurant or delivery pizza; and I really don’t like being a Debby-Downer when eating pizza is suggested by my friends.

That is until….

My BFF, Sheryl, her beautiful daughter, Bethany, and I ate at Fired Pie for lunch in Glendale at the Tanger Outlet Mall-Westgate. Brilliant concept: the concept of making your own pie – so Seinfeld-esque: Kramer’s vision of making his own pie as he conspired with Poppy to start his own pizzeria. I half expected to see cucumbers on the Fired Pie’s menu, but I digress. Yet, this is exactly the beauty of eating at Fired Pie. Their limited menu boasts of seven different types of “well balanced creations” of pizza made their way for $7.95; or, they give US the choice to invent our own pizzas selecting our own sauces, cheeses, meats, vegetables and herbs on a super thin crust also for $7.95. Incredibly, their sauce selection allowed me to choose garlic and oil and not just accept the traditional red sauce as my only option. If there were a “like button” at the restaurant for this feature alone, I would have pushed it! In addition to pizza, Fired Pie offers six different freshly made salads or one can choose to build their own salad their way. Options. Choices. So simple yet so empowering.

My pizza creation of garlic and olive oil brushed over the thin, pliable dough, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, spinach and Canadian bacon was whisked into the pizza oven, and coupled with a Steak & Blue salad of romaine lettuce, thinly sliced steak, onions, mushrooms, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, and sweet balsamic vinaigrette completed my lunch order. Sheryl and Bethany, regular pizza eaters, ordered a gluten-free pizza topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni along with a naked Caesar salad sans garlic croutons.

So fast was the pizza baked due to its super thin crust, but oh so yummy looking when presented. I could smell the slight hint of garlic as the cheese bubbled and the bacon crackled. I hoped it tasted as good as it looked… and to my delight, the pizza lived up to my high expectations. The crust was crisp, flavorful, and not too oily or garlicky. The layer of melted cheeses did not overpower the crust nor did it drown out the bread making it too wet or soggy. The sweet taste of spinach along with the crisp savory taste of the bacon made a melodious blend of flavors when eaten. For the first time in a very long time, I enjoyed eating pizza. My lunch also consisted of the Steak & Blue salad, a mélange of assorted vegetables and cheeses dressed in a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. Their salads, generous portions of fresh ingredients, are mouthwatering meals on their own.

Sheryl and Bethany shared the pepperoni pizza and Caesar salad. For Bethany, restricted to a gluten-free diet, the gluten-free crust was a winner. Slightly different in appearance than the regular crust, the flavor was not spared. Perfectly baked and with the right amount of tomato sauce, which did not overpower the crust or overwhelm the cheese and pepperoni, Sheryl and Bethany enjoyed their pizza creation. The pepperoni was small in size but Fired Pie did not skimp on the amount. Bethany stated “the pizza, the crust, the pepperoni, it was all on point.” The Caesar salad was made with fresh, crisp romaine lettuce accompanied with a tart Caesar dressing so claimed Bethany and Sheryl. Each thoroughly enjoyed their lunch and while they are more pizza gourmands or aficionados than myself, I am pleased to say that we all left Fired Pie sated and gratified.

Fired Pie has 10 locations in Arizona: 3 in Phoenix, 2 in North Scottsdale, one in Chandler, one in Ahwatukee, one in Glendale, one in Tucson and one in Scottsdale (Fashion Square). If you want to experience a hip and casual atmosphere, make your own pizza and or salad with the freshest of ingredients, and enjoy the incredible flavor of your own creations, eat at Fired Pie. Fired Pie will not disappoint!

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